Rules

Local Rules
Golf Club Local Rules (PDF) »

Clarification of Local Rule 1 – Out of Bounds
External Boundaries of the Golf Course
All external boundaries are defined by a hedge, hedge and fence or a stone wall. A ball over these boundaries is out of bounds. A ball in a hedge or coming to rest in a stone wall is in play and can be played as it lies or be treated as an unplayable ball under Rule 28a, b or c. of the Rules of Golf pages108 and 109.

Internal Boundaries of the Golf Course
Reference 1a, c, and g. A ball over internal boundary hedges are to be treated similarly..

White Stakes White stakes are used only to identify the out of bounds and are not themselves the out of bounds boundary. Refer to Rules of Golf page 39 – Out of Bounds.

The white stakes are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed – there is no relief under Rule 24 b.

Competition Rules
All decisions on the running of competitions, local rules in force and in particular course conditions remain the responsibility of the Match & Handicap Committee. Members should be aware that the following rules apply.

Members are required to report to the tee box 5 minutes before their allocated tee off time.

Any queries or questions not immediately answerable should be directed in writing to the Match & Handicap Committee.

Obstructions
Movable Obstructions (Rule 24-1)
Movable obstructions (i.e. artificial movable objects such as rakes, bottles, etc.) located anywhere may be moved without penalty. If the ball moves as a result, it must be replaced without penalty.

Immovable Obstructions and Abnormal Ground Conditions (Rules 24-2 and 25-1)
An immovable obstruction is an artificial object on the course that cannot be moved (e.g. a building) or cannot readily be moved (e.g. a firmly embedded direction post). Objects defining out of bounds are not treated as obstructions.

An abnormal ground condition is casual water, ground under repair or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.

Except when the ball is in a water hazard, relief without penalty is available from immovable obstructions and abnormal ground conditions when the condition physically interferes with the lie of the ball, your stance or your swing. You may lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of the nearest point of relief (see Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief”), but not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. If the ball is on the putting green, it is placed at the nearest point of relief, which may be off the putting green.

There is no relief for intervention on your line of play unless both your ball and the condition are on the putting green.

As an additional option when the ball is in a bunker, you may take relief from the condition by dropping the ball outside and behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke.

If a ball is in or on a movable obstruction, the ball may be lifted, the obstruction removed and the ball dropped, without penalty, on the spot directly under where the ball lay on the obstruction, except that on the putting green, the ball is placed on that spot.

Explanation of Rules
Obstructions
An obstruction is defined as: “anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice…. An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort.”

In short anything that is man-made, in other words artificial, is an obstruction. If it’s not natural and it’s in your way, in most cases you’ll get free relief.

Example
Your ball comes to rest on a path. The path is man-made and definitely can’t be moved. It is therefore an immovable obstruction. If you decide that you would like to take relief, you must first find the closest point of relief from where your ball lies that gives you complete relief from the path (this includes your feet). From that point, you may drop your ball within one club length, no nearer the hole. You do not get to choose which side of the path – you must go to the side that gives the nearest relief. Keep in mind you are not obligated to take relief from an obstruction – you can always just play it.

Similarly if the path interferes with the “.. your stance or your swing.” If you decide that you would like to take relief, you must first find the closest point of relief from where your ball lies that gives you complete relief from the path (this includes your feet).

In most cases where there is interference from a man-made object, you can take relief with no penalty. There are, however, one or two exceptions. If your ball lies in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, you may not take relief from an immovable obstruction.

Example
The small fencing on the third hole is by definition an immovable obstruction. If your ball lands on the bank of the lake then as it lies in a hazard, you may not take relief from an immovable obstruction.

Movable Obstructions
As the name suggests, movable obstructions are also artificial objects. Relief is obtained by picking up and removing the obstruction. For example, you can, without penalty, move an obstruction in a hazard if it is easily movable and it interferes with your ability to play your shot.

If your ball lies in or on the movable obstruction, the ball may be lifted, the obstruction removed, and the ball dropped (or placed, if on the green) on the spot under which it had come to rest.

Example
So if you’re in a bunker (hazard) and an inconsiderate golfer has discarded a drinks can that just happens to be sitting in front of your golf ball, announce to your playing partners that it is a movable obstruction and that you are going to remove it because it is interfering with your shot. Remember, almost anything man-made is either an immovable or movable obstruction.

Exceptions
There are exceptions to this rule. There are certain artificial objects that are not considered obstructions. They are:
(a) Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings.
(b) Any part of an immovable artificial object which is out of bounds.
(c) Any construction declared by the committee to be an integral part of the course.

The first two are relatively straight forward; however (c) requires a little more explanation. Occasionally a golf course architect will decide to manufacture a retaining wall or use railroad ties around a green. In these cases, the construction is often declared an “integral part of the course” and is usually mentioned on the score card. These are not immovable obstructions and free relief is not available.
Hole In One
Rule 1-1/3
Player Discovers Original Ball in Hole after Searching Five Minutes And then Continuing Play with Provisional Ball

Q. At a par-3 hole, a player, believing his original ball may be lost, plays a provisional ball. He searches five minutes for the original ball and then plays the provisional ball onto the green. At that point, the original ball is found in the hole. What is the ruling?

A. The player’s score is 1. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed the original ball (Rule 1-1).